Even then...

Even if my strength fails me
and my appetite goes away,
Even if my bones ache with a pain
that the drugs can never touch,
Even if the blessed tests come back again and again,
and the charts tell me that I have failed the task of
banishing the dark gray Kryptonite from within my spine,

Even if I fall and fall again and the doctor,
who is younger than my youngest child,
tells me I will never walk again,
Even if my bowels collapse and nothing short of the
indignity of a large young woman
who shouts my name and pronounces it wrong,
must wipe me clean and change my clothes,
day after day after day,

Even if all of the doors of life are closed again and again
and the tests come back again and again,
and my time has passed, and I know that will eventually die,
perhaps finally and completely…

Even then, I will not give in. I will not give in to the beastly
reality that is closing in around me.
I will not let the darkness of the future decide for me whether I
am permitted to smile.
I will not allow the “sting” of death force me to give up my
claim, my right, my inheritance, of joy.